Barbershop Community, News & Events, Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

At-home COVID tests are a thing now. But should you use them?

Two expensive options.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Aug 14, 2020

Scientists, disease experts and doctors are working hard to control the spread of COVID-19. Preventative measures like social distancing and wearing a mask are both things we, as residents in America, can easily do. In addition, testing can help trace the contacts of those who’ve been infected. Thankfully, testing is now accessible in more and more cities and communities as the pandemic progresses. 


Along with in-person tests, several companies have started selling at-home testing kits. Perfect for those that want, and need, to avoid potential exposure to the outside world. There are two types of COVID-19 tests: active infection and antibody. The active infections, done via nasal swab or saliva sample, tests if you have the virus. Whereas, the antibody test sees if your body has developed an immune response to the virus. 


Active infection tests are the ones that can be done at home. The process is quite simple. You swab the inside of your mouth or nose and then send the results to a healthcare provider. Since you’re mailing the test, most results take up to three days to receive. Although it is simple, should you use them?


Many health experts are weary of these at-home tests because they are too sensitive, often detecting the virus long after you’ve recovered and are no longer contagious. Many also worry that the sample is only as good as the tester. Meaning, trained healthcare providers are more skilled at collecting a sample than the average person. Healthcare providers can also better assess the situation and recommend treatment than an at-home test. 


With that being said, if testing yourself at home seems like your only option, here are two options that the FDA has deemed as safe for emergency use authorization. 


Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit ($109)

After completing a questionnaire detailing your symptoms and exposure, you’ll be sent this nasal swab kit. They also include an itemized receipt for insurance reimbursement. The test is available in all states apart from New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maryland.


Vitagene COVID-19 Saliva Test Kit ($129)

If inserting something into your nose freaks you out, this saliva test might be better for you. Once you send back, you’ll receive results in three days.


Photo via Vitagene